The small town of Niagara-on-the-Lake is crowded with media, activists and premiers this week.
The Council of the Federation started July 24 and will continue until July 26. While we know that the premiers will be talking about free trade agreements, cyber bullying, national energy strategy, among others, the issue of the soon to expire 2014 health hasn’t formally been put on the agenda.
Two-thousand activists are gathering in Niagara-on-the-Lake in the morning to try and pressure the premiers to make this a priority on their agenda.
Yesterday, 300 people gathered in st. Marks’s church in Niagara-on-the-Lake to learn about the abdication of the Harper government from their health care responsibilities.
Maude Barlow, Council of Canadians; Michael McBane, Canadian Health Coalition; Wendell Potter, American insurance whistleblower; Alex Himelfarb, Former Clerk of the Privy Council and many many more spoke about the need to protect, strengthen and expand medicare by stopping Harper’s privatization by stealth agenda.
Today, 2000 people will walk down Byron street to the Queen’s Landing where the Premiers are meeting. Giant floats, music and large umbrellas will take over the streets to show that health care needs to be expanded to cover everyone. This means universal pharmacare, a national aging strategy that includes home and community care, implementing the national mental health strategy, and providing fair a d stable funding to the provinces and territories.
While a few premiers have responded to our demands by offering to add some items to the agenda, we have yet to hear them commit to standing for medicare by together standing up to Harper. Until this happens, there will be noise and red umbrellas in the streets of Niagara.